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Old 03-14-2010, 03:56 PM
 
4,044 posts, read 5,955,870 times
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A few days ago I started a thread asking for recommendations for pre-level 1 books for a somewhat “difficult” preschooler who is just starting to read short vowel words. After offering some information about the child, the discussion evolved to a point where one of the posters suggested that my approach is all wrong and that my child may actually be gifted. Personally, I am rather inclined to believe that he will end up being diagnosed with ADHD - and I am not saying this lightly.

The boy is 4 yo, he will NOT go to kindergarten in the Fall (as he will miss the deadline by 10 days and we are grateful for that anyway) and he exhibits quite a few very strong symptoms of ADHD, but as the poster suggested on the other threads, he indeed seems to show a few “gifted” signs too.

I know that I am not supposed to be asking for any sort of "diagnostic" on the web, and that is not what I am doing – but I would not mind reading a few opinions about our scenario. Given the data, do you think he exhibits just behavior within the normal range for his age, does he sound close to the ADHD category or closer to the “gifted”? Below I copied and pasted some of the description of my boy I wrote on the other thread and have also added a few other details.

Someone was asking me on that thread what his main interests are, so they can recommend books that would get him from reading a few short-vowel words to being interested in deciphering a simple sentence.

Well, I had to admit he doesn’t really have any conspicuous “interest”, except BEING READ TO OUT LOUD or BEING TOLD STORIES !! He can sit still and focus like this for hours.

Yet, when it comes to doing or creating anything on his own that necessitates focus/concentration/mental effort, he is extremely fidgety, gets frustrated, does not have the patience and drops everything within minutes.

When I read to him, he is not into the simple books where he could pay attention to the letters or to sounding out words - even though I always move my finger from left to right in slow motion. He just loves to HEAR what I think are relatively advanced books for his age. We read many Dr. Seuss (the more complicated ones, not just "Cat in the Hat" or "Green Eggs and Ham" level), fairy tales, etc - and now he got to Charlotte's Web.

He is highly verbal and fluently bilingual and up until recently, we always read in "double". If the book was in English, I would read the sentence than translate it in my native tongue on the spot. If the book was in my native tongue, I would just live it as is. Naturally, most books we read are in English due to easy access. He also likes books on CD and he certainly seems to have a sense of humor as he laughs a lot at the silly concepts in Dr. Seuss, including all the made-up animals in "Circus McGurkus" or "If I ran the zoo". He comprehends fine nuances of language, in both languages.

He is highly alert and observing in communication with others, highly sensitive, highly attuned to both verbal and non-verbal communication – including body language, moods, even just “vibes”. He was like that ever since he was almost an infant.

On the darker side: very high strung, “drama king”, rebellious. Heck, he probably has ODD too. Yes, he has tried us many, many times and we had to remain very strong not to commit acts worth of calling "child services".
Also, he doesn't seem to maintain sustained interest in ANYTHING beyond this relatively passive activity: listening to stories. He doesn't like to DO things. He loves to talk to people (adults, not so much kids his age), strike up conversations with them and also cling to me throughout the day, severely. He clearly tends towards "lazy" - a trait which now I KNOW is an in-born/genetic trait and not just the "sin" or "immorality" society likes to portray and point fingers at. I am saying this because my younger one, a 2yo little girl (the easiest to parent child in the world), could not be more the opposite of him in terms of drive, focus and willingness to put in whatever effort necessary for prolonged periods of time.

It has always been a nightmare to get him to dress himself, put any toys away, etc. By contrast, she complies within seconds and finishes the job very fast. She "yields" A LOT with minimum parental input. He "yields" relatively little given the enormous amount of time and energy I have put into him in the past four years (and continue to do so, often at the expense of the younger one). He tends to be a dreamer and a scatter-brain with high cerebral activity - I can see his eyes wandering and starting to imagine "the set" as soon as I start a story. In his previous life, he must have been a hippy or something of that nature. J

He has almost zero interest in scribbling, drawing or anything related to writing, and average to poor fine motor skills. If he plays - which he often doesn't do - he fleets from one activity to the other and gets bored extremely quickly. He also doesn’t seem to be really “drawn in” by any activity (again, except being read to). He WOULD PROBABLY hang out in front of the TV for long periods if we allowed it, but we are a virtually no TV household so he is just not used to having the TV on, except 30 min from a DVD, on Saturday or Sunday.

He has developed weird interests such as tying strings on all sorts of furniture knobs or squeezing hard a stuffed animal, while keeping it close to his nose and making high squeaky noises. He can do the latter for a veeeery long time which has come to seriously bother me because it already looks like an addiction/tic. He's also become an exasperatingly clingy child which I sometimes blame on the fact that I've always spent a lot of time hugging, kissing, tumbling and just plain being silly and very affectionate (to the point of passion) with him when he was younger. I myself used to speak in a high, squeaky voice just to put together some puppet shows for him and help him get his play started. Now I think this may not have been such a brilliant idea.

Again, he exhibits both some strong ADHD traits and some “gifted” traits.

The trouble is I have become more worried about him as he advanced in age. Instead of becoming easier to handle, he seems to get more intense and more energy-sucking, as the months go bye. Although he will not go to kindergarden this Fall, I cringe at the thought that in just one year he will have to keep up academically with very compliant, focused and diligent children - like the ones I have seen in his group at preschool.
When I drop him in, I have also begun to notice that he does not like to join in the group, he just wanders somewhere on his own.

Thank you so much for any input.

Last edited by syracusa; 03-14-2010 at 04:05 PM..
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:06 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 52,454,643 times
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Honestly he sounds like neither an ADHD or gifted child and just sounds like a 4 1/2 year old boy. Stop over-analyzing everything he does and just enjoy your toddler. Why borrow problems? The time goes by so quickly you will soon wonder where your little boy went. 4 is a tough age, 5 was a lovely age. I would spend as much time as you can having him play with friends, run around the park and just being a boy, the rest will come. If next year when he goes to kindergarten things haven't changed, the time to address the problem will be then. Also, ADHD and being gifted are not opposites and you will often find kids that are both.

Also, stop comparing your kids--they are different kids, different personalities and will have different strengths and weaknesses. I can assure you that if you continue to talk about how wonderful your DD is and how much of a challenge your DS is, you will be in for a long life of problems with them both.
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:12 PM
 
4,044 posts, read 5,955,870 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
Honestly he sounds like neither an ADHD or gifted child and just sounds like a 4 1/2 year old boy. Stop over-analyzing everything he does and just enjoy your toddler. Why borrow problems? The time goes by so quickly you will soon wonder where your little boy went. 4 is a tough age, 5 was a lovely age. I would spend as much time as you can having him play with friends, run around the park and just being a boy, the rest will come. If next year when he goes to kindergarten things haven't changed, the time to address the problem will be then. Also, ADHD and being gifted are not opposites and you will often find kids that are both.

Also, stop comparing your kids--they are different kids, different personalities and will have different strengths and weaknesses. I can assure you that if you continue to talk about how wonderful your DD is and how much of a challenge your DS is, you will be in for a long life of problems with them both.

Golfgal, I agree. Rest assured that I never let those concerns slip out in from of him. This board is one thing and my son is another. I NEVER verbalize comparisons in front of him. As for stopping to compare - well...I know the theory and I know they are supposed to be different (which they are). It is just impossible not to notice how easy (I didn't say WONDERFUL!!) the girl is compared to him.

At the end of the day he leaves me severely exhaused. But NO, I never make such comparisons in front of him. Absolutely never.
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:18 PM
 
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Don't worry about labels. ADHD doesn't matter right now; neither does "gifted." He's a little kid. Relax.

Tying strings on knobs is doing something. So is squeezing and squeaking.

How long is he away from you at preschool? Does he cling to the teachers? Does he participate in the planned activities? Have the teachers mentioned any concern?

Is your son's father with you or in his life? How does he relate to him?


Three suggestions:
1. If he's being too clingy at home, tell him that it's time for him to play by himself for _____ minutes. Don't give him a choice. Tell him you need to do some things in the other room, and he is big enough to play without you for a little while. If he chooses to spend his time tying strings on door knobs, squeaking to his animals, or standing on his head, just let him.

2. There's no reason he needs to be reading independently now, at all. That will come easily enough later. To love to be read to - that's a good thing. You are helping him build his vocabulary and his ability to comprehend. His love of stories will be a motivation for reading later - when he's older. Read to him plenty, talk about what you read, and stop pushing him to decode words. (If he is curious, that's a different story. Go ahead and answer his questions about letters and words - if he brings it up.)

3. Relax. If he disobeys, forget ODD. Keep the rules simple and enforce them, knowing that he isn't going to be perfect, and neither are you. If this is a problem, you need discipline strategies, not acronyms. If he doesn't focus, let him flit. Relax.
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:38 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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Have to agree, he's being a normal 4 to 5 year old boy. Girls do the "right" thing sooner, too.
As an almost 30 year teacher with 4 kids of my own (2 and 2) I have to give my opinion that ADD/HD is the most misdiagnosed disorder there is among boys. Boys are naturally fidgety and have different ways of dissipating energy than girls. The problem hits in school where girl's abilities to sit still and be quiet are contrasted with the boys and they come up short. That's because today's schools place so much stock in the various tests that comprise the metric for meeting AYP under NCLB. Test taking favors girls (some of the tests may not, by the way) for the sitting still piece for hours on end. Teachers see boys fidget, get paranoid about their scores, and refer the boys to the SST where parents are told their kid needs to be evaluated for ADD/HD and a score of other behavior disorders.
My older son went through that (he wasn't ADD) and the school totally missed the mild dyslexia and speech impediment, which his mother and I caught and worked on at home. Son number two, same thing except the speech was caught, after we pointed it out. Most of their male friends were on some sort of medication throughout school (in the case of #2 still as he's exiting 8th grade). At one time both of them were the only boys in their class not on Ritalin, including the kid whose IQ approaches 180.
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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He may just be be immature for his age, but I would have him evaluated. Some of what you mentioned are symptoms of an ASD. Here are some good literacy sites he may enjoy.

Free music, free books, free games, free poems and free puzzles that help teach children how to read and improve reading comprehension

Learn to Read with phonics
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:02 PM
 
Location: Hawaii
1,677 posts, read 3,617,355 times
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STOP in your tracks and stop analyzing every aspect in comparison to ADHD.

Prior poster is absolutely correct that the boys are being misdiagnosed with ADHD/ADD (it is the most misdiagnosed condition in boys).

I could take any child and give them criteria needed for a diagnoses of ADHD/ADD.

I could take a comatose child and apply criteria for an ADHD/ADD diagnoses.

It is the public schools that have expounded, amplified and profited this disorder (please no throwing objects at the screen). The public schools are out of control; they get real fed money for their special ed programs each time they can come up with a kid with ADHD. So, now it's gone viral and many enthusiastic pre-age school kids are targeted.

What happens; 80% of them are boys and then the creativity and social tendencies are taught as a symptom of a problem!!!!!!!!!!!

Excuse me but I know more then 1 boy that this has happened to. Creativity and enthusiasm are re-placed with doubt.
"Watch out don't move in your seat or talk to anyone because they will say you fidgeted and lost concentration." Is that what kids are being taught?

Certainly there are kids out there with real ADHD and all it's "32 sub-categories" but believe me you can tell.

We are seriously failing the kids on this issue.

We are teaching the disease. Kids will fulfill expectations.

Learning styles and behaviour are extremely individual. From what you write he sounds like a 4 year old boy that loves his mother and life. Be thankful for his energy.

Good-luck to you.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:28 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 52,454,643 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyvin View Post
STOP in your tracks and stop analyzing every aspect in comparison to ADHD.

Prior poster is absolutely correct that the boys are being misdiagnosed with ADHD/ADD (it is the most misdiagnosed condition in boys).

I could take any child and give them criteria needed for a diagnoses of ADHD/ADD.

I could take a comatose child and apply criteria for an ADHD/ADD diagnoses.

It is the public schools that have expounded, amplified and profited this disorder (please no throwing objects at the screen). The public schools are out of control; they get real fed money for their special ed programs each time they can come up with a kid with ADHD. So, now it's gone viral and many enthusiastic pre-age school kids are targeted.

What happens; 80% of them are boys and then the creativity and social tendencies are taught as a symptom of a problem!!!!!!!!!!!

Excuse me but I know more then 1 boy that this has happened to. Creativity and enthusiasm are re-placed with doubt.
"Watch out don't move in your seat or talk to anyone because they will say you fidgeted and lost concentration." Is that what kids are being taught?

Certainly there are kids out there with real ADHD and all it's "32 sub-categories" but believe me you can tell.

We are seriously failing the kids on this issue.

We are teaching the disease. Kids will fulfill expectations.

Learning styles and behaviour are extremely individual. From what you write he sounds like a 4 year old boy that loves his mother and life. Be thankful for his energy.

Good-luck to you.
I agree with most of your post except I don't think it is the schools that have pushed the diagnoses, I think it is the parents who are looking for an excuse why their little snowflake won't behave that the "condition" has been so overdiagnosed. I also agree that it is fairly easy to tell the difference between a child that is really ADHD and one that has behavior issues. Watch a child with ADHD try to read a book and track where the eyeballs go-it will make you dizzy.
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:51 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
9,473 posts, read 16,442,439 times
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Hmm interesting. I won't pretend to be an expert, and certainly he is awfully young anyway, but I will say that AD/HD and giftedness are often coexistent. It is a myth that kids with AD/HD don't read well--if they are interested in reading, they'll be the best little readers you ever did see. It will be difficult to get them to do anything else in fact. Still, I'd worry less about the dx and more about learning the nature of the disorder, if in fact that's what it is. I suppose it could also be Asperger's, which also often goes with giftedness--that's like autism, only they are way more verbal and tend to get into weird little interests that few other people share. I recently read a great book on the disorders that are on the spectrum, but I'll have to go look up the title again and then I'll let you know--it was very interesting.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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As I mentioned in the other thread just now, I am an early childhood educator but not a doctor of any sort. However, I'd tend to say that virtually nothing you've posted describes ADHD in my experience.

Normal attention span for a 4 yr old is less than 10 minutes, so his going from one thing to another is quite typical.
His fixation on things such as the string tying or squeezing the stuffed animals is more akin to Asperger's, but may be nothing more than his particular interests at the time.

As for being gifted, children can be gifted in all sorts of ways from academically, to athletically, to creatively and intuitively. A child can be amazingly gifted in math, think Rainman, and fail miserably at everything else academic. A child can be a virtuoso in music and have no outstanding skills in reading. And so on.

In my son's 1st grade, there were 2 others besides him from the total of 80 students in first grade in the GT program. 2 more were added this semester. I've been in the classrooms quite a bit over the last two years and can say that each of these children are quite different from each other and their individual type and level of being gifted is also different from each other.

There simply is no clear cut answer.
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